Noida Mobbed: 18 injured 65 cars damaged 65 arrested

Violent

Day 1 of the two-day nationwide strike, announced by trade unions weeks ago, took Noida police by surprise on Wednesday when the protesters turned violent, damaged vehicles, vandalised and looted properties, and hurled stones at security personnel.

Eighteen people, including six policemen, were injured in the violence. Clashes broke out in sectors 83 and 84 of Noida Phase-II, where a 1,000-strong mob set fire to 15 vehicles and damaged 50 others parked within the premises of private companies. The protesters also torched a fire tender that went to the spot to douse the flames.

"A similar protest was reported from Sector-58 around the same time. Here, a mob of a few hundred people hurled stones at windowpanes of factory buildings," a senior police officer said.

In Lucknow, Arun Kumar, ADG (Law and Order), admitted that "police force deployed was inadequate". "Police had not thought that workers of private organisations would join the strike. The strike call was meant for government sectors like transport, banks and railways. It took about two hours for additional police force to reach the spot."

Factory owners in sectors 83 and 84 said they heard of a mob "on the prowl" around 8 am, but the first report of protesters turning violent came around 9.30 am.

A resident of the area, Aneesh Sharma, said: "There were at least 500 in the group, some identified themselves as workers at the factories nearby and demanded better salaries. They hurled stones and smashed the windowpanes of several cars and set fire to at least six of them. Much of this took place on the premises of International Print-o-Pac. Then the mob moved to Motherson Sumi automotive factory and damaged vehicles in the compound. They looted computers and other items and then went on to attack other company offices along the stretch."

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